One of the things I’ve learned about God is that sometimes, for some inexplicable reason, he takes his time.
A lot of time.
I’ve spent the last several years thoroughly, and completely wandering the post-evangelical wilderness. Certainties have become scarce, life has intruded, my sin has been magnified, and my faith has been nearly destroyed on several occasions.
But he’s never late.
In recent months I have struggled with doubt and fear that I thought I had left behind when I made the decision to follow him. Painful, physical doubt. And the endless silence of the dark night of the soul (but not St. John of the Cross’ Dark Night of the Soul, for which I am quite sure I am unprepared).
And then, suddenly, as I was at my end – as all of the familiar tools of my faith – prayer and worship and word and sacrament – had become ashes in my mouth – he arrived.
Grace, and peace, and faithfulness, and PRESENCE! Presence that I cannot explain but which overwhelmed me. Evidence that once again, everything was going to be alright. Weeping and laughing and joy breaking through the clouds of my gloom.
I can’t quite explain it. It certainly has nothing to do with my faithfulness. I struggle to come to him consistently, and consider myself to be just about as much of a sinner as ever. But for about the last month, just about every time I have come to him, he has been there. Obviously there. As in “wow, this prayer stuff is real” there. As in, “I kind of understand what it means to be praying ‘in the spirit’ now.” As in, “I’m just floating in the river letting God’s current of grace push me where he may.”
He came just in time. And I can only pray that the next time it seems like he’s taking far too long to come, I will remember this time when he waited until the last possible moment.
* The title of this post comes from “City of Blinding Lights,” by U2.